Japan’s Wartime History Denounced on Several Fronts

The Textbook Issue

The Exhibition

The Sex Slave

China expressed its “extreme regret” and “strong indignation” towards Japan’s refusal to revise a history textbook that critics say whitewashes Japan’s wartime atrocities.

Japan told China Monday through diplomatic channels that it won't make further revisions to the controversial history textbook. China, in turn, expressed serious representation towards the Japanese government's decision, said Zhang Queue, a spokeswoman for the China Foreign Ministry.

Japan approved the history textbook in April, straining the island nation's diplomatic ties with its Asian neighbors, particularly China and South Korea. Both nations, victims of Japanese invasions and atrocities in the past, demanded extensive revisions.

Zhang said the history textbook, compiled by Japan's right-wing forces, is notorious for its distorted facts to beautify and deny Japan's aggressive assaults throughout Asia in the 1940s and earlier.

"The decision made by the Japanese government betrays its commitment on historic issues by shielding right-wing forces," Zhang said. "China cannot accept the position."

Japan's action will cause the country to lose credibility with the people in Asia and damage its international image, Zhang said.

"We urge the Japanese side to seriously listen to the calls from the people in the former war-victim countries and to adopt practical measures to ease the tension caused by the textbook issue," Zhang said.

Officials from China's Foreign Ministry said the attitude towards that period of Japan's history is important to Sino-Japanese relations.

China has noted Japan's expression on history but stressed that more practical actions are needed by the Japanese.

A spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Education said Monday that the Japanese government's decision on the history textbook issue is a denial and beautification of its past history of aggression and such a decision is "unacceptable”.

The spokesman said the decision itself defies the previous statement made by the Japanese government on history and makes excuses for the right-wing forces.

Textbook should serve the purpose of teaching and educating students and history textbooks should reflect the true history, so as to cultivate the correct history perspectives of the youth and prevent the reoccurrence of historical tragedies, he said.

"We demand the Japanese side show respect to historical facts with concrete actions and properly handle the history textbook issue with a responsible attitude for the generations to come," he said.

(China Daily 7/10/2001)


The Exhibition

Two Chinese collectors are to stage an exhibition on Japan’s invasion of China in Oakland, California, in September.

The exhibition is scheduled to last for one month before going on tour in major US cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York.

Co-organized by Tien-Wel Wu, an 81-year old historian on Japan's aggression in China at the Southern Illinois University, the exhibition is to be held in the Chinese Holocaust Museum of the United States.

A total of 918 pieces of evidence will be presented to let visitors review the 1894-1945 history: from the beginning of the Japanese invasion of China to its defeat in World War II.

The two collectors - Zhan Hongge and Yang Guang from Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning Province - have contributed all 918 items to be displayed.

The figure 918 is used to commemorate the historical "9.18 Incident," an incident took place on September 18, 1931, which resulted in Japanese militarists' massive invasion in Northeastern China and later the whole country in 1937.

"We hope the exhibition can help visitors recognize history and avoid repeating mistakes," Zhan said.

"This exhibition will also mark the 70th anniversary of the '9.18' Incident," added Zhan.

The 918 items, including munitions, photos, maps, currencies, bonds and newspapers, are chosen from roughly 10,000 items that Zhan and Yang own.

The 918 pieces of collections, originally created by the Japanese to commend its power of conquest, have become proof of Japan's war crimes.

Among the 918 items are some 400 photos taken by Japanese photographers recording in detail how the government sent 1.1 million soldiers to Northeast China during the 1904-05 period when Japan was declaring war on the Russians in China's territory. The pictures reveal how the Japanese army kept watch, carried ammunitions, camped, attacked the Chinese army and occupied cities such as Yingkou, Liaoyang and Haicheng.

Some 100 different bonds, stamps and stocks issued by the Japanese Government will also be shown to the public for the first time. On the securities, it marks in Chinese characters of China Accident Bonds of the Japanese Government.

A map also published by the Japanese Government shows the three provinces in Northeast China were divided into 19 provinces with Changchun chosen as overall capital.

(China Daily 7/10/2001)


Sex Slave

Guo Xicui, a 74-year-old woman forced to be a sex slave for Japanese soldiers during World War II, left China for Japan yesterday to serve as a court witness.

It will be the 18th session held in a Japanese court since Guo and several other war victims lodged an appeal in 1995.

Guo, a native of North China's Shanxi Province, was captured by Japanese invaders in 1943 and became a so-called "comfort woman" at the age of 16. The nightmare lasted for almost one year before she finally fled and lived in seclusion for years.

The victims asked Japan to make an apology and compensate each of them with 20 million Japanese yen (US$158,730). With the help of Chinese lawyers, the Japanese lawyers who were entrusted to conduct the proceeding have submitted to the court a plethora of evidence to prove the crimes the Japanese military committed during World War II in China.

Despite this, the local court in Tokyo dismissed the suit six weeks ago, saying that an individual cannot sue a country for compensation.

The All-China Lawyers' Association, the All-China Women's Federation and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development then voiced strong support for Chinese war victims and promised to help safeguard their legal rights and interests.

Guo plans to be a representative witness in court. "I must be there for justice," said a tearful Guo.

According to historians, hundreds of thousands of women were forced to be "comfort women" in the 1930s and 1940s when Japan launched wars of aggression against other Asian countries.

(chinadaily.com.cn 07/10/2001)


In This Series

Roundup: S.Korea Tougher on Japanese Textbook Issue

History Textbook Revisions in Japan Dismissed as “Insignificant”

Japan's Controversial History Textbook to Be Rewritten

History Showdown: Koizumi Refuses to Revise Textbook

Taiwan Scholars Launch Campaign on Japanese Textbooks

Japanese Acknowledge Errors of Past

1,900 Villagers Sued Japanese Government

Japan Urged to Eliminate Distorted Contents in Its Textbook

Japan's Rightists Must Not Tamper with History

China Slams Japan Over History Textbook

Textbook Angers South Koreans

S. Korean Envoy Voices Concern About Japanese History Textbook

Taiwan Issue Remain Key to China-US Ties

Whitewashing Aggression History Harmful to Sino-Japanese

Overseas Textbooks Find Favor With Chinese Universities



Web Link